Monday, 27 December 2010

The King's Lynn & West Norfolk Daily is now out

Top stories:

King’s Lynn morris men make merry on Boxing Day - News

Traditional Sandringham Christmas gathering but without Prince William and Kate Middleton

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

A Cold December Day

Yesterday was pretty magical in King’s Lynn.

Unlike most of the rest of England, we do not have snow at the moment, but it has been VERY cold with temperatures not getting above freezing for several days. Yesterday morning it was slightly foggy, and when I went out in the back garden to put out some food for the birds, I was struck by the amazing effect of the frost on the bushes. Not only was each branch and twig white with frost, when you got up close you could see that the frost crystals were standing out clear and bright from the branches.

After breakfast I wrapped up warm and took went out for a walk, but even before I got out of the gate to our courtyard, I was stopped by the sight of the small cobwebs frozen like ribbons of pearls – even the small lichen on the stonework were picked out in frost.

By this time the fog was lifting, and although there was sun above me, across in West Lynn it still looked murky, but even so the trees on the other side of the river were bright white, and I could see frost on the other riverbank. Turning to walk along South Quay, I came to a stop by a tree in a neighbouring courtyard. I was aware this tree was there, but to be honest I could not have told you anything about it – but today it looks magnificent – full of red berries, and white frost, it just looked like something an artist had produced, much too perfect to be real.

Although it was below freezing, the air was still, and it was exhilarating to walk along the Quayside, watching the patches of ice flow downstream, the only sound being the crunch of my boots on the ice. As I came to the place where the Mill Fleet joins the main river, I stopped and looked over the bridge. The stream was running, but where the tide had receded, the banks of the river were sheets of ice, and the reeds and other plants standing in frozen status.

Along this part of the walk I came upon another tree that I would not normally have remarked on – but the sight of this small tree picked out in white against the old buildings here was spectacular – like some form of abstract art.

I walked down Nelson Street and round to Priory Lane, and here was an amazing “man-made” sight – from the top of a 2 story building all the way down to the pavement was a solid icicle – I have no idea where the water that made it was coming from, but it covered the whole wall and downstairs window – it must have been REALLY cold inside that room.

Walking on I then doubled back through the churchyard of St Margaret’s church, and as I walked under the trees it was almost as if snow was falling – but actually, it was the frost falling off the trees. At St Margaret’s I stopped to light a candle, and then carried on along Queen Street before completing the circuit to come back into our courtyard through the alley from Three Crowns Yard.

But even here was something new to look at – on the iron work gate the frost had formed horizontal spikes on one side only – I have never seen anything quite like that before.

Back home it was nice to be in the warm again, but the walk made me grateful that I get to see all these wonders of the world.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

New blog post - Christmas Farmers Market.

Here is a link to my latest blog on a Christmas Farmers Market here in Norfolk

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

NFL in the UK

Last year I started watching American Football on the net, and they talked about the "International Series" - two NFL teams come to London to play their competition match, so I bought a ticket! Fast forward several months, and the match was last Sunday.

From here in King’s Lynn it’s quite easy to get to Wembley - the train down to King’s Cross, and then the Tube over to Wembley Park - that is, unless there are engineering works on the line which mean that there is a bus replacement service for part of the route, adding about an hour to the journey time. Which there was on Sunday. So I decided to drive over to Peterborough, and get the train from there.

This part of the journey went well, and I even managed to do a bit of Twittering whilst I was on the train. This part of Cambridgeshire is very pretty, with big open fields and trees which were just turning colour. It’s also very flat mostly fen land, and I could see rain clouds in the distance, which we passed through and then on out.

Getting to King’s Cross I went down to the Tube station, and was amused to see lots of NFL team shirts - seems I wouldn’t be alone on the terraces! I was less amused, as the platform got more crowded, to hear the announcement that there had been a signal failure, and all trains were delayed. This held us up maybe 30 minutes, but eventually the happy throng of supporters arrived at Wembley Park station, and headed off to the stadium.

I’d not been to the new Wembley, and was truly impressed by the sight of the arch and the stadium itself as the crowds walked along to it. I wanted to get a sweat shirt I’d seen in the promotional leaflet, and stopped at one of the concession stands along the route, but they were out of them, so I carried on and found my entrance easily - I was very impressed with the signage here!

Going through the gate and after the security search, I got my first glimpse of the ground through one of the entrances, and I was probably grinning from ear to ear - there is just something about a big event in a big stadium that makes me smile! Before going into the seating, I waited at one of the souvenir stands for a sweat shirt - I saw they had one on display. When I get to be served, I find that the one on display is the only one they have left! It’s a medium, and I really wanted a large (I like to wear these things loose) but after a moment’s hesitation I bought it anyway - yes, it WAS expensive (£40!) but it was also what I wanted.

Then I went in and found my seat - But stood for a bit to take it all in - giant balloons of the San Francisco and Denver helmets were at each end of the pitch, and there were players warming up, and dancing pom-pom girls - it was still 45 minutes before match time, and that time was filled with music and entertainment. San Francisco was the “home” team, and so we all had SF 49er flags. The seats were filling up rapidly now- next to me were a man and his young son, who were Denver Bronco fans, and there were a lot of people wearing the shirts of various teams, but I got the impression that most of the crowd were neutral on the outcome of the game - we just wanted a good one!

I had wondered if they would do the normal thing of having the US national anthem, and indeed they did unfurl a big Stars and Stripes flag and had a singer perform the anthem. Then they unfurled a Union Jack, and someone played it, with some of us singing alone.

And then the game - well, I’m not a sports commentator, I can’t tell you who made which plays, and certainly won’t do any stats! But as a spectacle, it lived up to my expectations from watching on the net. The actual play was somewhat slow in the first 3 quarters, picking up more in the last quarter, but there was a lot to keep us entertained in the mean time. One thing I’d not realised was that the US NFL games were being played at the same time as ours, and the latest scores and video clips were being shown on the big video screens. One of the people behind me was a St Louis Rams follower, and got excited when the Rams were shown to be leading!!

I was getting cold on the stands, and as I’d not eaten, I went out during the 2nd quarter and got myself a hot drink and a hot dog - very American!! As I said, most of the action in the game came in the 4th quarter, and the 49’ers ended up winners 24 to 16. Those in the seats around me were mostly British, but I did detect a few American accents in the crowd - I’m sure if I was an American living over here it’d be a “must do” thing to go to the match!

Overall it was a great day out - I had intended to get there earlier to go to the tail gate party, but the time I spent in Wembley - from around 4 pm till the game finished just after 8 - was well worth it. A fun time, and the crowd was so well behaved - and I forgot to mention the Mexican Wave that went round the stadium 4 to 5 times!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

A new Month

I see that we have a new - free - glossy mag in King's Lynn, called "KL Magazine" - I guess that's a case of "it does what it says on the tin". The most interesting article for me was the one on Captain Vancouver.

Before I moved here, I wondered why Lynn had a shopping center named after a place in Canada - and then I found out that the place in Canada was named after a son of Lynn - Captain George Vancouver. What I find really amazing about that time in our history was how people made those sorts of trips - if your only experience of the sea is the Wash and the North Sea, the wide Atlantic, and the truly HUGE distances involved in a trip like the Captain's just stagger the mind.

The last two early mornings (not that early, I'm talking 7am) have been really pretty here in Lynn. Although the days have been wet and wild, as I've come along the river at that time it's been crisp and bright - and both days with that really clean and rain-fresh smell that just makes it good to be alive. And then by mid-day it's raining again - ah well.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

oh my - July

Hi readers :)

Sorry to be away from the bloggersphere for so long - be back real soon - promise

Monday, 5 July 2010

Old Hunstanton beach walk

A couple of days ago was one of those days when I wake stupidly early, and just need to move. And as it was already sunny and bright, I decided to jump in the car and go walk on the coast.

I headed for Old Hunstanton - this is maybe just a mile or so along the coast from the more touristy Hunstanton with its funfair and "attractions", and is more of a "local" beach. As it was very early the roads were blissfully clear and open, and I arrived on the beach just at 6am. The tide was on the way out, but still fairly high when I got there. I took off my shoes and headed to the shore line - how good to feel sand between your toes and the sun on your body!

The beach was empty apart from the birds that flocked on the receding water line, and I ventured out to walk just where the waves were still gently lapping against the shore. I needed some shells to complete a small decorative project I'm working on, and soon my pockets were bulging and wet from the wonders I found!! I kept telling myself to stop - but then finding "just one more" perfect specimen, which I simply had to collect.

All this time the water is slowly going further and further out, and I'm soon in areas with seaweed growing. It's really intriguing how, although the sand is basically flat, it's not a uniform flatness. There are rises where the sand has already dried out, and then streams that cut channels through making deep gulleys. It's easy to see how these sands can be dangerous for the unwary - I know from my experience how fast the water comes in at hight tide, and these high areas would soon become sandbanks surrounded by water.

The sun continues to rise over the coast line, and as I walk towards it I am mesmerised by the brightness and the colours. Behind me, I can see the coloured Hunstanton cliff with the bright white lighthouse on top, a truly iconic picture.

After walking for some time, I spot in the distance the first human I've seen on the beach so far - a solitary man walking his dog up on the top of the beach. I wonder what the time is, and am shocked to see it's already almost 7 o'clock - I've been walking for an hour without really noticing!

So I turn and set off back along the beach to where I've left the car. Only then do I really appreciate how far I've actually come! Rather than the slow wading I've been doing, I walk on the firmer sand so that I can pick the pace up a bit. I see more people walking dogs on my way back, and also one family starting their day on the beach early.

It's past 8 when I get back to the car - I'd left it parked in splendid isolation, but now I have builders vehicles close in front and behind me - thanks guys!! But I get out OK, and am soon on the road again, but this time with more traffic heading into town.

I turn the local radio station on, and listen to the morning show - full of weather reports and traffic news - a total contrast to the basic elements of sun and water I've been immersed in for the last 2 hours.

By now I'm feeling really tired, so I'm glad when I get back to my riverside home, and can drop back into bed - sandy and damp, slightly smelling of sea air, but SO contented with my lot in life.


After I washed and dried the shells, I had enough to complete what I'd wanted them for, and some over! They are now used as decorations around the place, and the larger shells I've used as candle holders for night lights - I smile every time I look at them!

Monday, 28 June 2010

Sitting by the river

I met a friend this morning and we sat on one of the benches overlooking the river and talked for a while. The river was just at high tide as we sat there - the wind was causing ripples on the water, but there were also still areas, giving the impression of currents in the water. We talked about how we had both occasionally seen times where it looked as if the tide was moving up stream in the centre of the river, and downstream at the far bank - neither of us are really sure if this was real or an optical illusion, but nothing about this river would surprise me!

We both became aware at the same time of a black shape over near the other bank - and neither of us said anything because it was not clear if it really was what we thought it might be. Then suddenly it dived, and so yes, it was a seal! I'm told they are not uncommon in this part of the river, but this was the first one I'd seen.

We continued to sit as people went by on their way to their offices, and I felt very fortunate to be able to just sit and watch the water go by, and see the ferry shuttle back and forward, carrying workers and shoppers over to this side of the river.

Just then my friend said he'd seen a fish jump, which is not a normal occurrence here. Then I saw one jump too a bit further downstream, and then there was another and another. Really unusual - was the seal hunting them and they were jumping to get out of harms way? Who can say, but it made for an interesting few minutes.

Sometimes the Quay can be a cold and windy place, and you rush along it to get out away from the weather. But on a sunny and warm summer morning, it is a place to stop and relax, and just enjoy the peace.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Sculthorpe Moor June 2010

After a really warm and sunny period, it had suddenly turned wet over the last few days, but I decided to head out anyway and visit the Sculthorp Moor nature reserve.

The journey was uneventful, but as I neared Fakenham the mist came down, and I ended up driving with my lights on. Arriving at the parking lot, I walked through the Visitor Centre and had a quick talk with one of the volunteers, who told be all the hides were open, and pointed out the web cam pictures of the Marsh Harrier nest complete with chicks.

I walk out towards the Scrape hide first which talks me through the woodland, and I stop to look at the flowers growing there - it is lush green, and these pinpoints of colour really stand out. In particular the wild foxgloves are really amazing with their intricate hanging trumpet-like flowers.

Further along, the land opens out and I'm among tall reeds, and then the path takes me out to the river Wensom, and along that for a way until I reach the hide. Walking in here I see there is one other person already there, and I'm just about to say hello, when I somehow let the door slam behind me! not a good thing for a bird watcher!!

This hide overlooks a stretch of wetland, and my new companion tells me that the water level is a lot higher than it had been, following the thunder storms of the last couple of days, and I also hear that the kingfishers did not survive the hard winter. Over in the distance I get a view of a kestrel on the wing, and then a group of Mallard chicks appear on the water in front of us. Another person joins us - a real birder by the look of the equipment he is carrying. He tells us he's on vacation in the area and lives up in Scarborough.

I spend about 45 minutes there, just watching the birds and occasionally talking with my companions, and then head out to the next hide, with views over the marsh land where the Harriers are nesting.

This hide is more populated with men with big lenses, and it also has a webcam link showing the Marsh Harriers nest.

This is excellent, as we can see and hear the chicks on the screen, and then as the adult leaves the nest to hunt, look outside and see it swoop away. I watch it for a long time with my binoculars, and manage to get a couple of pictures too. Nearer to the hide is a feeder, with smaller birds feeding - tit's which are common in my garden too, and also what appears to be a pair of bullfinches. As we watch, one of the volunteers goes out to put more seed onto the seed table - and nearly slips on the wet tree trunks.

In the distance I suddenly see a pheasant break cover and fly for a few feet before disappearing into the long grass again. Soon a couple of pheasants are under one of the feeders eating the spilled grain.

People come and go from the hide, and eventually I am getting to feel cold sitting there, so I collect up all my things and head out. There is another hide along this path overlooking woodland, but I decide that I've had enough for one day, and take the longer path back to the visitor centre. It's only when I get inside again that I realise just how chilled I'm become outside, and I'm pleased that they have nice bathrooms:)

I talk once more with the volunteer, and decide to become a "friend" of the reserve - I get to come in free, and they have a quarterly newsletter - plus I get a sticker for my car!!!

So I'll be back soon to check on the progress of the birds and wild flowers - and hopefully in warmer weather.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

A bike ride to Castle Rising

It was another perfect sunny Saturday morning, and I decided to take a trip along the national cycle route that runs through Lynn, Heading out along the Quay I was soon through The Walks and out on what is called the Sandringham Railway route – which actually runs for a few miles along the route of the old railway line from Lynn to Hunstanton. This is a popular path, but I imagine most people are busy with their weekend chores, and not many people are about. Soon I reach the main Lynn to Cromer road which I cross, and then it's back on a cycle path before the route turns and takes me through South Wotton.

This little village is mainly fairly new housing, and being close to Lynn and the main access routes, whilst also being quiet and in the middle of countryside, is popular for families to settle in. The cycle path takes me through the park, and out by what for me is the village's main claim to fame - the pyramid.

Now, a pyramid isn't something you'd necessarily expect to see in the the Norfolk countryside, and this one is maybe 6 feet tall, and on closer inspection, I see that it was put up to mark the Millennium – other places had fountains, or clock-towers – the Wottons chose a pyramid to mark the coming of the new century – and why not?

At this point the cycle route joins the road again, and this is the village street as we get into North Wotton, and then out of the village to open country. As it leaves Wotton, the road climes a small wooded slope, and a couple of cars pass me. I know that the impression of Norfolk is of a very flat county, and whilst there are certainly no mountains, most of the countryside is gently rising and falling, so there are slopes, and occasional hills. As I cycle up the slope, I see that a group of 5 joggers running down the slope towards me. As they get closer they move to the side and I move out to pass them, and it is one of the joys of cycling that I can say thanks to them as I pass, and we acknowledge each other as human beings, not just more traffic on the road. At the top of the slope this small lane joins a slightly larger road as we approach my destination for this trip, Castle Rising.

As I cycle into this tiny hamlet, the first thing I see is a tea room, and so I stop here, go in to get a coffee, and sit outside at one of the tables and enjoy the sun. From the garden here I have a good view of the castle. Now, I have to admit something here – in my head I compare every castle I see with Dover Castle – I was brought up in Dover, and that castle dominated the town, and is really extensive and colours my expectations on any other castle.

But I am here and as I look up at Castle Rising Castle I have to admit that it does bare some similarities with my beloved Dover Castle – it is at least real 12th century stonework and has impressive surrounding earthworks. I decide to go cycle up to the castle after this rest stop, but first I observe the people around me in the garden. I see that another cyclist has stopped here, and there are a few tables of people enjoying the sunshine. One couple at the other side of the garden are busily pouring over what I take to be details of houses for sale – what a nice thing to be doing on a sunny Saturday! The other cyclist gets up to leave, and we share a few words about the cycle route – she is on her way to Sandringham, and I have been that route so am able to assure her that it just crosses the main road at one point, otherwise it's on country lanes and cycle paths.

Having finished my drink, and utilized the bathroom facilities, I head up the hill – yes a real hill! - to the entrance to the castle. The car park is filling up I see, not unexpected on a day like this, and I get off the bike to walk down along the earthworks. I decide not to go into the castle itself, although from what I can see it's evident that there is a lot of preserved stonework there – maybe another time I'll go inside and explore more.

I then head back into the village, and stop at the church of St Lawrence. This church also dates back to the 12th century, and I am encouraged to see that the building is open for people to walk around. Inside it is white and bright, full of flowers, and with the sun shining through the stained glass windows, it is a very uplifting place to be. I spend some minutes admiring the building and in quiet thought before going back outside and walking around the building looking at the ancient – and not so ancient – grave stones.

I then free-wheel down the hill past the War memorial and stop at the bottom to examine one of a number of unusual looking street lights that I've observed around the roads. They are eight sided wooden posts, and although thy have an electric light in them, they almost look like they could have been originally gas or even oil lamps – the signage on them says the following:
“Erected by the people of Castle Rising as a memorial of the Great War 1914 - 1919”

I make another stop as I reach a kissing gate that the bike won't go through, so I chain it up and walk up the path through a field to see if I can get anymore glimpses of a very unusual looking building I've spotted on top of the rise – a kind of peach coloured frontage, with inset statues. Returning to the bike, I find the saddle covered by ladybirds, which I gently encourage to move back onto the fence, before setting back off home.

I make one final stop in South Wotton on my way back to get a cold drink from the village store – and find the people serving are extremely welcoming and pleased to serve – actually makes me want to go visit them again!

I'm home in time for lunch – a very pleasant way to spend a morning in this very pleasant part of the world.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Stormy River

I know I keep on about how great king's Lynn is, but the weather here is really changeable. Today when I woke up it was bright and sunny, but soon the wind started getting really strong and the clouds came skudding over.

It was nearly high tide, and the wind and the rain made the water really stormy - so I made this short video from my window. And you know - even then it's a good view:)

Wednesday, 28 April 2010


Spring is really here in King's Lynn and as I passed in the bus yesterday I spotted the formal gardens at the London Road end of The Walks, so I decided to go back later to check them out.

It was a really warm and pleasant evening, and I went first for dinner at the Chinese Buffet in Station Road, before walking down to The Walks, By this time the clouds had come over a bit, and it was starting to get dark, but even so the path leading from London Road to St John's Church was just a blaze of colour on each side, and then ending with a tree in blossom just outside the church:

This is a truly amazing display, and in particular I thought the vibrant blues here were particularly stunning:

The Walks is always a nice place to visit, but right now it's an amazing one!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

High Street

King's Lynn High Street goes from Tuesday Market Place to Saturday Market Place, and is a pedestrian street only - in my mind just as well, as it is a narrow street, and with traffic would be dangerous and noisy - as it is, it's quite pleasant to walk along and look at the shops.

Starting at the "Tuesday" end you come to some fine old Bank buildings - one of which is now a Nando's restaurant, but the architecture is the same. This top end of the street it is normally full of shoppers, many of whom park in Tuesday Market place. One interesting thing is two charity shops on either side of the road facing each other! I was also kind of amused to see an "Edinburgh Woolen Mill" shop here - 300 or so miles from Edinburgh! It's also home to Marks & Spenser and McDonald's which must be two of the most visited locations in town.

Shortly we have Norfolk Street on the right, and then we come to a collection of smaller shops, including a Chinese herbalist which I have yet to have the courage to go into! My experience with these places is mixed - I like the idea of them, but the one occasion I got something from one of them, the treatment was worse than the thing I was trying to cure!

This part of town is also the place where there are a number of phone shops - why they are co-located is interesting - is this a deliberate policy I wonder? And then two card shops face each other across the street - again I wonder if this is deliberate. This part of High Street is home to a number of clothing shops, and is consequently busy during shopping hours.

High Street is then crossed by New Conduit Street, and on the corner is a building which looks to me like it was designed to be a cinema - just something about the style of the place gives me that impression. Actually, it's a men's cloths store!

From here the street get quieter, and the main shopping attractions are a general store and a department store, although this are also a number of empty locations, including one large pub building which has been empty for a long time. It's not all bad news, however, with one of the stores being newly redecorated, and recently opened as a cards and accessories shop.

As we reach the end of High Street there is another charity shop, and an "old fashioned" sweet shop, with jars of sweets that are sold loose. Then we come to the corner of Saturday Market place and the Wenns with their signs for forthcoming music acts.

The long term locals tell me that High street is not a patch on what it used to be, and I'm sure that is the case. But as one coming new to the town, I have to say that it has survived as a mixed community of shops a lot better than many High Streets I've seen, and remains an attractive place to visit.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

A Random Trail

This is a strange walk in a way – when I returned and looked at the map it seemed I'd been in among houses all the time, but it felt like it was mostly green open land – I guess it comes from being on footpaths, rather than on roads.

Anyway, I started off along the quay and cut through Boal Quay parking lot, and then through the streets between there and London Road. The houses here are an interesting mix of ages – a few 17th century cottages still remain, but the bulk are Victorian or Edwardian, with some in-fill building within the last 50 or so years – so one can walk along a terrace of solid Victorian 3 stories houses, and suddenly come upon a side street with a courtyard of 1990's build apartments.

Reaching London Road I cross at the first available place, and see in front of me a tiny alleyway - it's only about 3 feet across, and on one side has a Grand Victorian building, now quite run down, and on the other a plot where it looks like construction has started, but stopped a few years ago. I assume the ally must lead somewhere, so go down it. At the back of the at the end of the building plot I can see that there is another Victorian building, this one really run down and is boarded up. The path runs the length of the plot, then turns a sharp left, and is now only 2 feet wide, running between the abandoned boarded up building and a tall wooden fence. The path is strewn with beer cans and only runs for a few feet before it turns to the right, continues along to a wide road – what a strange little alleyway!

Continuing on I walk in the direction of where I think the brook that runs behind the cemetery must be, and I cross the main road and choose a street at random to walk down. Suddenly, this road opens up to a green open space, and there is a bridge crossing the stream. On the other side the path goes along the bank of the stream, and I decide to turn left, and walk along with the green and the water to one side, and more allotments to the other. On my walk the other day I went past a huge allotment site, and this one seems at least as big – it's good to see so many town folk growing their own!

After a very short time the path comes to the railway line, and crosses it – I'm kind of taken aback at the fact that there is just a gate each side that I open with signs telling me to stop, look and listen – somehow this doesn't seem right in the middle of town, more what I'd expect to see in the middle of the countryside.

The path continues along with trees to one side, and then crosses over the stream to back onto houses on my left, and a wide area with brambles growing on the right – worth remembering for the autumn when the blackberries will be ripe! I'm walking along thinking that this path must link up with the Railway cycle path somehow, but just as I'm thinking that, my path ends at an industrial site, so it obviously doesn't!

I walk for a bit on the road, and then spot another path leading back through the trees, and take that. After a while the path becomes one of the small streets with terrace houses on both sides, and crosses the railway again – this time with a crossing barrier and lights!

I turn left along another road, this one with bungalows on one side – quote pretty and open, and then I see that I'm crossing Tennyson Road and The Walks are opposite me! So it's a simple walk across them and back home.

When home I get out my Ordnance Survey map to try to see where I've been – I can re-trace my route, but I don't see the name of the stream is that I crossed, and it's not evident that there is some green open space there. I guess it's all in how you look at it – and I chose to think I went for a walk in the country!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Gaywood Walk

I set out with no clear objective in mind, apart from wanting to walk.

After walking along South Quay, down to Tuesday Market place, around the Town Quay and past True's Yard I came out to the Loke Road junction, and remembered that there was a small waterway behind the houses, so I thought I'd go along the path beside that for a way. This waterway – about 3 feet across and 4 or 5 deep, with maybe a foot or so of flowing water - is one of the man made drainage ways that keep this part of the world from being marsh land, and I find from my map that this one is called Bawsey Drain.

I start off along the well made path here, with the backs of the houses on one side, and the backs of a commercial development on the other. This doesn't sound very promising, I know, and indeed there is evidence of some fly tipping in the stream – a supermarket trolley which is filled with water plants, a sofa with one end in the water. But even here, there are ducks swimming around, and grass growing on the banks, evidence that nature is not tamed. Every so often along the way there are foot bridges over the water, but I just carry on along the waterside, across roads, still with buildings on both sides.

Then as I cross one more road, the houses on the far side give way to allotments – and what a lot of them there are! Many with sheds and other structures. And in the distance, I hear the unmistakable sound of turkeys – evidence that it's not just veg that is being kept here. A bit further along, and there is another drainage channel running into the one I'm following. The land on the other side appears to be scrub land, with a newer building in the distance, and with the way the Drains run, it looks like it has a moat round it! The houses on my side of the river seem more spacious now too as the path takes me out of the centre and through North Lynn.

Soon I am coming towards the sports centre with the imaginative title of Lynn Sport, and an interesting area set up for competitive fishing! Here I have to cross over to the right bank of the water, and the path goes across between the playing fields, away from the stream. However, one can still walk alongside the water on the bank, and so I do this, as the Drain loops around the field. There is a screen of trees here, and the waterway is somewhat wider and deeper, and it feels almost like “real” countryside!

And then I come to an abrupt junction, where the Drain joins the Gaywood River, and I turn left along the appropriately named “Riverside”. And this is a simply wonderful little street – here on this side of the river there are a parade of small one story cottages facing the street, and then the grass bank of the river. On the other bank the houses have gardens coming down to the riverbank, and many of them are open with no fence, giving the appearance of a tiny countryside village.

But I can hear that I'm approaching a main road, and I soon emerge onto Wotton Road. Crossing over, I see that the river is boarded on both sides by private land, and though I walk a little way along to see if I can re-gain the riverbank, I eventually give this up, and retrace my steps back to the main road.

Rather than return the way I came, I decide to follow the Gaywood River, and this takes me on the other side of Lynn Sport. The houses on the other bank here have large gardens, and some have made a feature of the riverbank – one having built a deck with a seating area. Another appears to be in the process of building some sort of similar structure, and a third has a chicken coup!

After a while, the path I'm on becomes a road with houses on my side too, and then the river makes an abrupt turn to the right, and I follow it along an unmade road prettily called “Swan Lane”. This road also has small cottages along the road, and feels very rural, even though on the other bank I can see the back of the new super store which I know is on the busy Gaywood Road.

At the end of Swan Lane one of Lynn's many cycle paths cross the river, which I cross to continue following the river bank, but this is soon blocked by a fence, with what appears to be a farmers field the other side, so I go back and follow the path instead. This takes me across Gaywood Road, and then runs next to King Edward VII School, where the school-kids are out playing sports.

I'm familiar with this path – called the Railway Path – which runs next to the King's Lynn to London line, between mature trees. Then I'm across Tennyson Road and into the Walks, and nearly home. As I continue across the Walks, it occurs to me that the waterways here are probably the Gaywood river – I hadn't previously thought what this might be, but checking on the map later shows that indeed this is the case.

Overall an interesting and amusing walk – although I was always in one part of town or another, by following the waterways I saw a different, and more rural face to the area than anyone speeding past in a car will ever see.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

of birds....

I'm sitting here in my living room with a cup of flavoured coffee and watching the sun outside my window, the river flowing by, and the birds in my little walled garden. A starling was just pulling at some of the moss on the garden wall, and some Blue Tits are currently flitting in and out of the trees.

My lease doesn't let me keep pets here, so since early winter I've been encouraging birds into my garden by putting out feeders for them, and this spring I've been trying to keep a note of the species that come visit. So far this week I've identified wood-pigeon, collard dove, blackbird, starling, blue tit, great tit, coal tit and house sparrow. There were a couple of others, but they flew away before I could get my book out to identify them!

It's interesting that the seagulls that are all around diving and flying over the river don't come into the garden - I suspect that it's too small for them with it's enclosing walls. My neighbour on the other side of the courtyard has her own private garden too, but this is not enclosed by walls, and right now the gulls are flying past my window to get at the food she's just put out. She intends it for smaller birds, but the gulls don't mind!!

There is always something to look at on the river – often just the river itself as it is quite amazing how it flows in so fast! During the winter, he flocks of birds would fly back and for the to the feeding grounds out on the Wash in the mornings and evenings: now that many of the migrants have flown north for the breading season, there are less noisy flights of birds, but there still seem to be plenty of them around, and it still causes me to stop and watch as they go by.

And all this just from sitting here looking out of my window!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Sunshine on the river

I've lived here in Lynn just over a year, and I'm still really inspired by the river and the sights here. Today I went for a walk over to East Lynn and back, a gentle walk of about a mile and a half each way. We start from the Quay side, and on this bright sunny afternoon there were quite a few people around just walking, and a couple of people sitting in their cars listening to music or reading. On one of the benches is a guy reading a book, and he is surrounded by 3 beer cans – normally we don;t see much littering around here, so I wonder if they belong to the reader?

As I walk on I notice two of the fishing boats moored at Boal Quay – these are working boats, but they look so smart and fresh that they might well be toys floating on the water. And just as I'm admiring them, I become away of the salt smell of the sea – maybe this is just fancy, but maybe not:)

I then take a short cut across the parking lot – late last year they re-covered the upper part here with new shingle, and most of it is now fully incorporated into a tight surface, but here and there, where the cars haven't been too much, it is still loose and like a beach – hard, but fun, to walk through.

And then I regain the path and follow it to the top of the dyke. The sun is shining from an achingly blue sky, and this is reflected in the river, which is a beep blue, and sparkling in the sun. The river is rarely still, and right now it's slowly flowing, with eddies and currents easily seen in the bright water. All the way along the path I'm captivated by the play of light on the water, except when a sea bird swooped into view and I stop to watch its graceful glide.

As I approach the bridge, the path takes me past some allotment land, and there are 2 bonfires there which draw my attention. The plot holders have been busy, I can see, with most of the plot looking newly dug over, and I think back for a while to another life where I had an allotment.

Soon I'm at the bridge, and I start to cross over, and the noise of traffic reminds me of how peaceful the river path had been. This route takes me past an business estate, still now on a Sunday, but I see that they are developing this, and putting a new road in, complete with new bridge over a small drainage channel. At the end of the road I turn off the path and walk along side the road for a while – I have the choice of walking on the roadway itself, or on the muddy side of the road. This is not somewhere I'd normally choose to walk, but I'm on my way to a cafe, and I stop there for a drink and to use their restrooms, before turning around and re-tracing my steps.

By the time I arrive back home I'm quite warm and very glad that I am blessed by being able to live by this exciting and ever changing river.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Snow Days

We have had more snow in the last 14 days here in Lynn than I’ve seem in the last 14 years!!!! We don’t do well with snow here - mainly because we don’t get it much!!

I remember a few years ago when we had snow driving my car round a corner - or rather TRYING to drive my car round a corner! - and ending up sliding sideways and slamming into the curb the other side - luckily there were no other cars or people in the way!

Walking on fresh fallen snow is a joy!! But when it gets compacted or slushy it’s not at all a nice thing to do. A few years ago, when I was considerably heavier than I am now, I hated any kind of slippery surface, as I felt so unsteady on my feet. But nowadays I’m a lot more confident, and this morning when I was walking along the river bank path, I was managing to really stomp along!

As I left the house I spotted the full moon had not yet set, and as the tide was full, it made an amazing picture reflecting on the still waters, There is something about that moment when the tide is full and the river seems motionless apart for the occasional eddy - it almost seems like a pond at those times. The picture at the top of this piece is a panorama from just outside town, and by this time the tide had started to go out, but it is still quite full.

This morning was bright, and we had only a very little covering of snow, but after I got home the clouds came over, and it started to snow heavily -and has kept it up most of the afternoon. I’m still enjoying the view, only now I’m inside and warming myself by the fire.